So The Consumerist ran a story about some bozo at this past week’s Democratic National Convention who in the heat of a politically-charged moment flashed her Medicare card in the air in front of the TV cameras putting her Social Security number on national television. Seriously, how stupid can people get? Sadly though, this is not an isolated incident by any means. So many people nowadays do really dumb things and then we wonder why things like identity theft are so widespread. Here’s a few pet peeves of mine that no doubt contribute to this century’s problems with the world being a little too wired.
- Using Real Names In Online Addresses And Identities – This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people in a spurt of uncreative non-genius decide to go with their real name as their User ID in an e-mail address or on a site like Facebook because they can’t think of anything else. Seriously now, don’t complain about 21st Century “Stalker Internet Culture” and/or identity theft when somebody can type Something.com/yourname into their browser and hey look there you are. 😛
- Mandatory Sensitive Information On Online Job Applications – With most HR recruiters bawling about bazillions of job apps per position these days, it’s utterly appalling that job applications require mandatory Social Security numbers and other sensitive information that ends up being stored on a server for at least 90 days, so all these job hopefuls that are never even considered for a position get to have their SSNs sitting on an app server at a company that might never hire them, and who knows how well that server is maintained in terms of security and updates? Seriously, compared to systems with customer or employee data, how much priority do you think an application server would get relative to other systems in the company in terms of security and maintenance with your average resource-strangled IT department these days? Hmmmm….. :-\
- Phone Answerers That Are Awful With Credit Card Information – Some small businesses like pizza places in my neck of the woods are trying to be more high-tech these days by allowing you to order pizza with a credit card over the phone. Unfortunately, like most non-tech people, many of these restaurants do it badly at best. I’ve seen pizza shops where whoever takes your order repeats every digit you say over the phone out loud. Yay. Thank you very much for blurting out my credit card number to everyone within earshot of you. I think I’ll check a recent transaction log for fraudulent activity now. 😛 The worst case of this that I’ve dealt with involved one place that used a cellular swiper where one night the lady delivering the pizza couldn’t get any signal on the swiper so she called it in on her cellphone and all-but shouted my number and expiration date to the entire neighborhood. I no longer order from that restaurant. Coincidence? 😛 Probably the worst example would be pizza places that do all of this AND require CCV codes. Great, so the person taking my order may say out loud enough information for someone to steal my card, including the CCV code, or may write it down on something which will end up God knows where for someone to steal and make bogus transactions with. These businesses should quit buying all these new systems if they won’t deploy them properly or educate their people on proper handling of sensitive customer information.
- Tech-Illiterate Friends And Family Defeating The Purpose Of Online Usernames – This is a common gaffe I see in online gaming where a bunch of folks who know each other in real life play an MMO under usernames and call each other by their real names, sometimes their real surnames (“Well Mr. Smith we sure pwned that raid boss.”). It just makes me want to cringe. Seriously, we’re getting to a day and age where soon everybody will have to be like celebrities wearing sunglasses everywhere we go at the rate we’re going. 😛
- “I Took This Picture, Therefore I Should Immediately Put It On The Internet.” Remember that crazy party last week where you got drunk off your you-know-what and your friend Jimmy was walking around with a smartphone snapping pictures to treasure that moment forever? Well it’s the morning after and in the midst of your brain-pounding hangover, hey look, Jimmy put everything on Facebook. Now your whole family and friends know what a debaucherous drunk you are, but wait, there’s more. Jimmy has no clue that his privacy settings are set wrong so all kinds of people can see that you’re a crazy drunk now, including the hiring manager of that job you so wanted to get. You check your voicemail. “We’ve decided to go with another candidate.” Right. These kinds of incidents shouldn’t happen, but sadly they do. 😛
- Setting Privacy Settings Wrong – Gotta love when websites give people privacy settings but people using said websites can’t be bothered to actually use them. Then we wonder why we have incidents like this Massachusetts incident from earlier this year where some high school girls’ Facebook photos wound up on a porno site. :-\
- Sharing Logins On The Job – One of the biggest problems I faced at my last Fortune 500 job where I got to help out with IT stuff. Too many people got in trouble for stuff they didn’t do because they found out the hard way that sharing logins doesn’t absolve them from responsibility if the account is misused. Usually these problems were caused by non-techie supervisors and workers sharing logins because they couldn’t be bothered to wait for IT to finish making logins for new hires, or one person had wireless access on their account and the others didn’t but needed it and the person with access couldn’t be bothered to open tickets for 20 other people to get that access. All in all, sharing logins in a corporate environment is a shortcut/workaround that’s never worth it. 😛
- Passwords On Post-It Notes – Hey there non-techie supervisor. It’s nice that you can’t remember a password for beans, but you should at least pretend to try to hide the Post-It Note with your login information instead of having it sitting on your desk next to your keyboard, or taped under your keyboard. 😛
- Monkey See Monkey Do On YouTube – Hey look. All these other people on YouTube are making such and such types of videos. Shouldn’t you too? The answer of course is no. 😛 I’ve seen some videos that will no doubt embarrass their creators in a few years, but hey, everyone’s doing it, and after they get embarrassed or called out enough, they can always play the “oh I was just ACTING” card. Yeah, like we’re supposed to believe you consciously came up with the idea to name a fictional character LOLMadDude250614 before starting your YouTube channel even though you never referenced yourself as a fictional character for the first 150 rant videos until so-and-so called you out. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. 😛
- Forcing People To Say Sensitive Information Out Loud – Okay. I just stood in line for over a half hour. Now I’m finally to the front of the line, and I’m supposed to verify my identity by telling you my Social Security number with a line of people standing in back of me. Really? Maybe I should wear a bright orange shirt with my SSN on it while I’m at it!
- Using Sensitive Information As Passwords, Etc. – Hey look. HR just got this new system thingie online, and our default password is part of or our entire SSN. Yeah. Uhhh…. Ever heard of keyloggers? 😛
- Really Dumb Passwords – Sad to say, there’ve been times where I’ve seen things like “Password” as a password. Enough said. 😛
- People Complaining About Password Policies – Yes Mr X. You work for XYZ Corporation and handle sensitive customer information. Of course you need to have a password that’s harder than “1234” and will need to change it every few weeks. Wouldn’t want someone to brute force your account and send a nasty e-mail to your boss under your name now. 😛 Seriously, it’s like a work equivalent of parents saying, “My house – my rules.” If companies are like “Our systems – our rules” just play along and follow them lol. 😛
I think this has gone on long enough, but it’ll suffice to say, whats-her-name flashing her SSN on her Medicare card at the DNC was only the tip of the iceberg with how people can be so behind the curve on this kind of stuff these days. 😛